If it weren't for Todd Akin, Sen. Claire McCaskill's reelection might have been a surprise. But after three months of campaigning against the guy who coined "legitimate rape," the biggest surprise in Missouri on election night was how fashionable McCaskill's daughters looked standing behind her during her victory speech. Lily (the one with the braid) and Maddie (cream-colored ruffles) instantly became the subject of social media and fashion fixation. Here are some sample tweets:
Claire McCaskill's daughter is bringing 90s era Chloe Sevigny realness.— Joshua Conkel (@JoshuaConkel) November 7, 2012
Claire McCaskill's daughter is so awkward. Why is her one sleeve blue?— Becca Ginns (@bginns) November 7, 2012
I'm beyond fascinated by Claire McCaskill's daughter's braid and collared shirt situation. #2012election— Lauren Ober (@OberandOut) November 7, 2012
The social media chatter soon led to blog posts, like one naming them "breakout style stars" on Styleite. BuzzFeed played up the Chloe Sevigny comparisons. The Huffington Post called them "a pleasant surprise" and asked, "Both ladies were so on-trend, non?" This is not the first time McCaskill's daughters have gotten some unexpected attention thanks to McCaskill's tendency to talk about her family on the Senate floor and tweet personal photos, but it perhaps was the highest profile instance. We asked Maddie what it's like to go through the meme wringer. Full disclosure: she and I are birthday card-level friends after meeting through mutual Mizzou college friends.
When did you discover you'd become a social media meme post-election?
I woke up pretty hungover around 9 a.m., checked Facebook and saw that a few friends had posted links on my wall.
Were you surprised by people's reactions?
Yes! It's weird seeing pictures of you weirdly zoomed in, as on the Huffington Post article. Also, people are calling Lily's hairstyle a milkmaid braid. We've always called it a crown braid.
Do you like reading it or is it like, ick?
We think it's funny but stupid. I went on an OKcupid date with a guy once and saw he tweeted something about it.
Did it make you think, "Oh, I'm glad I wore that... Option B outfit would have been bad..."? Or did you think, "Oh, I wish I'd worn X differently"?
I really wanted to wear pants, but when I found out Lily was I decided to wear something else.
What'd your sister say?
I woke Lily up and showed her. We were laughing pretty hard and sort of embarrassed. We can't stop laughing at this one tweet that said "Claire McCaskill's daughter is so awkward. Why is her one sleeve blue?" She's confused as to why everyone is hating on the blue sleeve.
We slept at a hotel last night after the watch party, and when we walked into my mom's house this morning, we were greeted by her and my extended family giving us a standing ovation. They were reading people's tweets from last night out loud and my mom was like "I have to tweet about this." She thinks it's funny, too.
Do you ever coordinate outfits with your mom when you know you'll be on camera behind her?
Not usually, though we knew she was wearing green so we shouldn't. Lily and I look alike, so we try to dress differently when we are together to avoid "Are you guys twins?" questions. One day we fought over who got to wear denim-on-demin.
Does she try to veto stuff?
I have a muumuu that she said she'd pay me to burn/never wear again.
Is this different from that time your mom talked about you on the Senate floor and The Daily Show picked it up? [For everyone else: During a September 2011 hearing on the post office, McCaskill said her mom had kept a box of letters she had written to her in college. "My kids are in college now," McCaskill said. "I don't have a box like that. In fact, I had to impose a rule: You cannot get money by text message. I was getting like this gibberish spelling -- 'Need money 2day' -- you know, it is ridiculous." Jon Stewart's reaction: "That is the most masterful Jedi knight mother guilting I have-- Claire McCaskill just entered the fact that her children don't write her enough into the congressional record."]
This is better than that, if only because she basically called us out on being awful children on the Senate floor.
What about when your mom tweets about you?
Oh man, she's lethal with her iPhone camera. We try to monitor her, but sometimes she goes rogue and tweets pictures of us sleeping on the campaign RV. She tweeted a grainy picture of us waiting in line to vote earlier in the day without us knowing.
Some classic McCaskill Mom tweets:
August 7: "My girls went to vote with me at Kirkwood HS this am. Can you hear them saying 'No Mom!' Vote today""
June 30: "Seriously? Once again my daughters asleep on RV Can't keep up with mom."
November 6 (another secret tweet): "My daughters waiting to vote this am. They've been going with me to vote since they were babies."
(Top photo via Associated Press.)